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Santa Maria-Style Barbecue Tri-Tip

Santa Maria-Style Barbecue Tri-Tip

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

This is a classic Santa Maria style barbecue tri tip with a simple garlic, salt, and pepper rub, cooked over an open fire to medium rare. It's best served with Santa Maria-style Salsa.

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About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

Santa Maria-Style Barbecue Tri-Tip

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About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4 to 6
Active time:40 minutes
Total time:40 minutes
Special equipment:grill
This recipe appears in: The Best Inexpensive Steak For The Grill Part 5: Tri-Tip

Ingredients

  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 whole tri-tip roast, (about 2 1/2 pounds) or 1 top sirloin roast (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 recipe Santa Maria-Style Salsa

Procedures

  1. 1

    Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. If desired, add a few chunks of oak that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes directly to the coals.

  2. 2

    Rub steak with garlic and season well with salt and pepper. Place over cooler side of grill, cover, and cook, turning and flipping occasionally until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak registers 115 to 120°F for medium rare, 20 to 30 minutes

  3. 3

    If coals are not hot, remove steak from grill, add another quart of coals, and wait five minutes for them to heat up. Return steak to hot side of grill. Cook, flipping regularly until well-charred on exterior and center of steak registers 120 to 125°F on an instant-read thermometer, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with Santa Maria-Style Salsa.

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